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There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Star

 

 

 

There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Star

There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Star

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Star

P. Crumble

Louis Shea

Scholastic, 2017

24pp., pbk., RRP $A15.99

9781742833309

There was an old lady who swallowed a fly…

So many of a certain generation recall this traditional rhyme from yesteryear and marvelled at how much one old lady could fit in her stomach.  Even the somewhat brutal ending didn’t faze us because it was inevitable.  Now Victorian author P. Crumble has taken this rhyme and built it into a series of hilarious editions that are so much fun for younger readers, encouraging them to read and recite them just for the delight of the words on their tongue and the pictures on their eyes.

So this one, newly released with 3D pictures and glasses, which features the old lady getting very greedy about Christmas, will be the perfect addition to Miss 6’s Santa Sack.    And I’m so glad that even though she swallowed Santa Claus (to wild applause) there is a happy ending.

Rudolph Shines Again

 

 

 

 

Rudolph Shines Again

Rudolph Shines Again

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rudolph Shines Again

Robert L. May

Antonio Javier Caparo

Little Simon, 2015

40pp., hbk.

 9781442474987 

It’s a dark and snowy Christmas Eve so once again Santa wants Rudolph to lead the way for the sleigh as his nose shines bold and bright. 

But the other reindeer are jealous and not content with just laughing at Rudolph and calling him names, they are really mean and make him carry the heaviest loads, even using him as the ball when they played football!

Rudolph is so sad and whinges and whines so much that the light on his nose goes out!  With no reason to stay to help and full of self-pity, he leaves the comparative safety of the North Pole for somewhere where he is unknown and unrecognised.  And there he meets some rabbits whose babies are lost in the forest and at the mercy of foxes and wolves. Completely forgetting his own troubles, Rudolph promises to find them – but can he do it without his shiny nose to light the way? Of course he does and with the rescue comes a realisation that is brighter than any nose could be!

Written in 1954, this is the sequel to Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer but unlike the original which May wrote to entertain children as part of a department store promotion, this one has a stronger message about there always being someone worse off than you, perhaps inspired by his family circumstances as his wife died from cancer as he worked on the original.  While not necessarily the time for an in-depth discussion, nevertheless young children will feel Rudolph’s pain at being bullied and might think about the feelings of others that they tease.  They will also draw encouragement from Rudolph being able to get things in perspective and go back to face his tormentors knowing that he is strong and has a lot to offer.

This new release is stunning with its beautiful artwork bringing another dimension to the story, also told in rhyme, and making a special duo of books for the Christmas Countdown. 

 

The Little Christmas Elf

 

 

 

The Little Christmas Elf

The Little Christmas Elf

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Little Christmas Elf

Nikki Shannon Smith

Susan Mitchell

Little Golden Books, 2011

24pp., hbk., RRP $A4.99

9780375873485

At last Nina was old enough to join the team of elves at the worktable of Santa’s toyshop.  Her task is to make a teddy bear but she is so meticulous it is unlikely that she will get it done in time – and she doesn’t.  She is still sewing when Santa comes by to load up his sleigh and as all the other elves load their toys on to it, she is very despondent.  But Santa tells her not to give up and so she perseveres, alone in the toyshop after all the others have gone.  Resigned to it not being given to a child till the following year, she heads for bed when suddenly Santa reappears at the door…

A charming story about perseverance and resilience that will be a lovely bedtime story for the younger readers.  The illustrations are very appealing and this will become a favourite of the Christmas Countdown.

 

The Tooth Fairy’s Christmas

 

 

 

The Tooth Fairy's Christmas

The Tooth Fairy’s Christmas

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Tooth Fairy’s Christmas

Peter Bently

Garry Parsons

Hodder Children’s, 2014

32pp.,  pbk., RRP $A15.99

9781444918359

It’s Christmas Eve and when the Tooth Fairy gets a message from Robin Redbreast that Little Tim Tucker has lost a tooth, it puts an end to her hopes and plans for an early night at home.  Outside a winter’s gale is blasting and she is tossed every which way, ending up lost.  But in the distance she hears a strange sound and into sight comes Santa and his sleigh.  He rescues her but that is not the end of her adventures… will Little Tim Tucker wake up to a nice surprise or will he be disappointed.

Santa Claus, Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy are such an integral part of the early lives of children the world over so to have two of the three team up and help each other has to be a good combination that will appeal to our very young children.  Working together, Santa and the Tooth Fairy show that all sorts of problems can be overcome – each has skills and that special something that when put together as a team can solve all sorts of dilemmas.

Bright glossy pictures, imaginative layout and rhyme and rhythm move the story along making an original and intriguing adventure story that will delight as the Christmas Countdown continues.

One Christmas Eve

 

 

 

One Christmas Eve

One Christmas Eve

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One Christmas Eve

Corinne Fenton

Marjorie Crosby-Fairall

Black Dog, 2016

32pp., hbk., RRP $A24.99

9781925381252

“One Christmas Eve, Grandpa puts on his best shirt, Bella passes him his favourite hat, and they wave goodbye to Gran. Together they walk along the tape measure streets and roundabout corners until there, before them, is Luna Park.

When Bella visits Luna Park on Christmas Eve with Grandpa, he hands her a single silver coin to use on a ride. Bella enjoys the excitement of the roller-coaster, the squeals from the ghost train ride and the laughter from the giggle palace, but she is drawn to the sparkling carousel and it’s here she spends her precious coin.

When Bella climbs onto her dashing carousel horse, something magical happens when they launch into the velvety night sky where they encounter a jolly man in a red suit and his prancing reindeer. But the magic doesn’t end there…”  

This is a nostalgic, charming story of Christmas in the less-hectic times of 1968 that will arouse memories with many as they share it with their children and grandchildren in this Christmas Countdown. Reminiscing about Christmas in a time that wasn’t so dominated by big,  bold, bright and brassy -spent my 1968 Christmas coming to terms with the heat of Port Moresby – and just taking the time to enjoy the simple things.  And regardless of the season, who hasn’t dreamed of a magical, mystical ride on one of the beautiful carousel horses and Fenton’s beautiful text and Crosby-Fairall’s stunning illustrations are a perfect match as we soar high above the clouds and discover the magic that is there.  The power of imagination and dreams transcends all timeframes and generations. 

One Christmas Eve was the focus of the Melbourne and Brisbane Myer Christmas windows for 2016 and these are now in Ballarat for 2017.   Lucky are those in a position to go to see them!

What Do You Wish For?

What Do You Wish For?

What Do You Wish For?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What Do You Wish For?

Jane Godwin

Anna Walker

Viking 2015

32pp., hbk., RRP $A24.99

9780670078110

Each year the children in Ruby’s street put on a Christmas show with songs and costumes and real curtains during the party in the park at the end of the street.  Before that they decorate the big tree and each writes a Christmas wish to hang in it. Everyone has a wish but Ruby knows that the wish deep inside her is too big to put on a small piece of paper.  What could it be?

This is a charming story that reminds us of the warmth of Christmas traditions, the magic of wishes and a child’s timeless dreams – the patchwork of events and activities that make the memories for when they are older.  It reminds us as adults that no matter how old, tired, jaded, it’s-Christmas-again-already? we get, it is a most magical time for our children and the things we do will be taken on through their lives to their children.  They DESERVE our time to make it special for them, and if that’s the only thing we can give them then that is the biggest gift of all. To know that we are willing to pause our busy lives to bring some magic to theirs is often all they want – just like Ruby.

That Christmas Feeling

 

 

 

That Christmas Feeling

That Christmas Feeling

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

That Christmas Feeling

Lili Wilkinson

Amanda Francey

Allen & Unwin, 2017

32pp., hbk., RRP $A19.99

9781760294960

This Christmas sure isn’t like last Christmas.  This year Jem and Dottie and Shortbread the dog are staying with Grandma and Grandpa and the fizzy, exciting feeling where everything is a bit magical just isn’t there.  No matter how hard Grandma and Grandpa try to replicate the events of last year, the feeling isn’t happening and Jem and Dottie are so worried that their mum and dad won’t get home in time. There is no sparkle.

Come bedtime and with still no parents, and a concern that Santa won’t find them, Dottie is really despondent,  To cheer her up Jem suggests they go outside and find Christmas… and as they marvel in the stars which are their twinkly lights and sing some carols they hear a noise.  Is it Santa?  No it’s a car…

Every year authors’ imaginations come up with a host of new stories for this festive season, and That Christmas Feeling has to be one of the most special for this year.  Sometimes, for lots of reasons, it is hard to get your Christmas on and no matter how hard you or others try, it just doesn’t happen. Lili Wilkinson, who established http://insideadog.com.au, the Inky Awards and the Inkys Creative Reading Prize at the Centre for Youth Literature, State Library of Victoria, has created a gentle, loving story that will resonate with lots of children who are missing their parents at this time and whose absence is all the more poignant because of the dates.  While there is a happy ending for Jem and Dottie, others are not so fortunate so sharing the story could be a catalyst for our children to think of those who can’t get the feeling this year and how they might be able to reach out to them in some way.  

Something very special to add to your Christmas Countdown collection.

Sage Cookson’s Christmas Ghost

 

 

 

Sage Cookson's Christmas Ghost

Sage Cookson’s Christmas Ghost

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sage Cookson’s Christmas Ghost

Sally Murphy

New Frontier, 2017

65pp., pbk., RRP $A9.99

9781925594058

Sage Cookson, daughter of globe-trotting celebrity chefs Ginger and Basil, is on the move again.  Sad about leaving her best friend Lucy behind for Christmas, nevertheless she is excited about going to Western Australia where her parents are going to be supervising the creation of the world’s largest pavlova in an attempt to break the record for this dessert, currently held by its country of origin, New Zealand.  

Too large to be baked in conventional ovens, the action takes place in a disused brickworks where the kilns are large enough to accommodate it, and there will be live crosses to its creation and success (or otherwise) during the annual carols by Candlelight program broadcast on television in the eastern states.  Despite a definitive ruling,  this concoction of sugar and egg whites has been the subject of dispute since it was first created and served in 1927 in honour of ballerina Anna Pavlova’s visit to the two countries in the 1920s and this becomes the centre of the conflict.  Are all the little things going wrong or going missing the work of a malevolent Christmas ghost or a saboteur…

This series for newly independent younger readers combines the author’s love of television cooking shows and mysteries, so that in each new addition something goes wrong and Sage has to solve the problem. Will she get to the bottom of this mystery and enable Australia to claim the record or will it stay where it belongs, in New Zealand?  Sage is going to appeal to a range of young readers who will be able to follow her adventures and then visit her website for more fun. Learning to make proper pavlova is something we Kiwi kids learned at our mother’s elbow, but there is a recipe included (very similar to the original, proper one) that more adventurous young cooks might like to try.

The Naughtiest Reindeer Takes a Bow

The Naughtiest Reindeer Takes a Bow

The Naughtiest Reindeer Takes a Bow

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Naughtiest Reindeer Takes a Bow

Nicki Greenberg

Allen & Unwin, 2017

32pp., hbk., RRP $A19.99

9781760295653

All the reindeer are fast asleep, tucked up in their beds resting before the big night ahead when their dreams are shattered by Ruby telling them it is time to get up!  Except it’s not.

But she is determined to get a head start on the Christmas deliveries because she is tired of taking the blame for time running out and everyone getting anxious and stressed and so she takes off on her own…

Luckily when she runs out of puff, she crashes into George and Amelia’s home – they are familiar with her from her previous antics in The Naughtiest Reindeer and The Naughtiest Reindeer at the Zoo but what are they to do with her when she is a day early? Easy – they take her to school!!! Oh dear!

The naughtiest reindeer has become a Christmas favourite of the Christmas Countdown and this new adventure is no different.  It rollicks along with rhyme and illustrations each highlighting the chaos that only Ruby can cause! I know two little girls who will enjoy renewing their friendship with her before sharing this latest adventure this Christmas Eve. 

Merry Christmas from The Very Hungry Caterpillar

Merry Christmas from The Very Hungry Caterpillar

Merry Christmas from The Very Hungry Caterpillar

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Merry Christmas from The Very Hungry Caterpillar

Eric Carle

Puffin, 2017

32pp., hbk., RRP $A12.99

9780141388281

Fans of the Very Hungry Caterpillar will like this small-format book from Eric Carle despite its northern hemisphere focus.  While the VHC doesn’t play an active role in the story, he does appear on each page sharing the precepts of the Christmas season in simple text and classic Carle illustrations which will focus their thinking. 

Older children could use it as a compare and contrast exercise as they place the northern hemisphere version alongside their summer hemisphere experience and then discuss the common themes. It could inspire some artwork and help develop the language of comparison, or even spark a discussion about the proliferation of Christmas books and songs featuring favourite characters and artists and who they enjoy most.